There are 2 kinds of advice one gets when feeling troubled.
1. The “right’ advice, designed to make you move in the right direction, get over obstacles, be creative, generate motivation, etc.
2. The “ego boosting” advice, to make you “feel good” about your past and current decisions and circumstances.
There are best seller books that promote the idea that “you shouldn’t give a f***” about what people think. That you should “live the life you want”.
But throughout my many years of research into the most successful people on the planet in dozens of fields, I have NEVER EVER come across a single one who became truly successful by adopting the “don’t give a f***” attitude… NOT ONE!
- How would a top athlete feel if no one recognised her success? Would she continue to train as hard?
- How would an entrepreneur feel if no investor paid any attention to his ideas? Will he not be tempted to give up?
- How would a mother feel if her children didn’t pay attention to her hard work?
- How would a husband feel if his wife didn’t see his love for her?
- How would an employee be motivated to work harder if his/her boss didn’t see her commitment?
Even a dictator who might not care about how the world feels, or how his people feel, would still care about how his generals feel, how his closest allies feel…
I can list you countless examples of environments where success is directly correlated to how people “feel” and how people “think” about us and what we do.
Research has shown time and time again that the biggest drive any human has is “EMOTION”.
Studies in psychology of success have shown that EMOTION IS THE FUEL that keeps people striving to do better, to improve.
So the idea that we should NOT have emotion about “what people think” is akin to trying to drive a car without fuel: it will roll on for a while and eventually stop.
Yes, intrinsic drive (internal) is important: but intrinsic drive “gets us started”, but emotion and how we are perceived and “what people think” remains relevant.
However, we should recognise what people think as external queues, analyse them, and use them to our benefit. We should REMAIN IN CONTROL of how we REACT to what people think.
This is where the key to success lies:
1. Identify how people feel about something you’re doing.
2. Question whether these feelings are justified, do they reflect an accurate reflection of what your actions.
3. Is this an audience of people that matters to you? whose opinion counts?
4. If so, make the changes you need to be more successful.
5. If not, THEN you tell yourself: “I don’t care about those people’s opinion”.
Again: there will be people who will bang the ego-satisfying drum of “I don’t care what people think”, but ask yourself this: how truly successful are those people?